Seven Tips to Pass Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

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by Jon Reinemann last reviewed August 2022
A woman smiles after passing her life insurance medical exam with the tips she learned from SelectQuote

Many life insurance companies require a medical exam during the application process to help determine your final costs for a traditional life insurance policy. While the exam itself is a simple process—just like a regular checkup—the result of your life insurance medical exam can have a big impact on what your rates look like. Here are some of the easiest ways to prepare for a positive outcome.

Want to set yourself up for success? Here are some of the easiest ways to prepare for your life insurance medical exam.

1. Schedule Your Life Insurance Medical Exam in the Morning

The life insurance physical exam itself doesn’t take long; most exams are 15 to 45 minutes. They can take place at an exam center, at work or even at your home—whatever is most convenient for you. Being in a place where you’re comfortable will keep you more relaxed, which can help keep your blood pressure low.

Once you’ve decided where you’d prefer to take the exam, you should consider scheduling it in the morning. Your exam might blood work that requires you to be a in fasted state, which means no food or drink besides water. This is easier to achieve if your appointment is in the morning.

2. Don’t Drink Coffee or Smoke Beforehand

While drinking a cup of coffee in the morning can help you wake up, it can affect your blood pressure. You want to make sure you give an accurate blood pressure reading during your medical exam, so stick to water over coffee or anything caffeinated.

Additionally, being a smoker can directly impact your coverage and rates, so refraining from smoking before a life insurance health exam could be in your best interest. (This also includes any tobacco use, including vaping and smokeless tobacco products.) Avoid smoking before your exam because it negatively impacts your blood pressure. 

Life insurance medical exams test for the presence of both nicotine and a substance called cotinine. Nicotine stays in the body for up to 3 days, while cotinine is detectable for over a week. Secondhand smoke does not show up on a life insurance medical exam test. 

Don’t lie about your tobacco status at any point during the life insurance application or medical exam process. This is considered fraud and the insurance company can decline or cancel your application. While life insurance is more expensive if you smoke, you can still get insured at an affordable rate—especially if you work with SelectQuote. We can shop hundreds of policies from different highly-rated insurance carriers and find the policy that works for you. 

If you recently quit smoking, first of all: good for you! That’s a great step toward better health. You are eligible to get nonsmoker life insurance rates after a year of not smoking or using tobacco. 

3. Avoid Salts and Fatty Foods

During the life insurance medical exam, the examiner will likely take a blood sample for testing and he or she will also check your blood pressure and pulse. Certain foods directly affect blood test results, so avoid sugary, fatty, salty and fried foods at least a few days before your appointment. 

You can also eat foods that raise your good cholesterol, including salmon, whole grains and nuts like walnuts and almonds.

4. Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated isn’t just important for hot summer days or when you’re working out. Drinking around eight glasses of water a day, especially in the days leading up to your exam, can help clean out any toxins that could show up in your blood or urine samples. Being well hydrated also makes it easier to draw your blood.

5. Avoid Working Out

While getting some movement every day is great for improving and maintaining your overall health, strenuous exercise can raise both your pulse and blood pressure. This is why it’s smart to skip the gym in the few days leading up to a life insurance medical exam. Working out might also negatively affect cholesterol levels and increase protein levels in your urine. Save the workout for after your exam!

6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep does a body good! Your vital signs will reflect the type of sleep you had the night before in both your pulse and blood pressure, so hit the sack early the night before. Not only will you be more alert the next day, but you’ll be more confident heading into your life insurance medical exam after recharging your body the night before.

7. Have Important Documentation Ready

On the day of the exam, you’ll need to have your driver’s license as well as contact information for any doctors you see regularly. You’ll also be asked to share any hospitalizations, medications, procedures and surgeries from the last five years. Spend some time in the days leading up to the exam gathering that documentation so you’re ready.

What should I expect during a life insurance medical exam?

Wondering what happens during a life insurance medical exam? There are two parts:

  1. Medical Questionnaire: The medical questionnaire will ask basic questions regarding your medical history, health and lifestyle habits.
  2. Physical Exam: The physical exam is used to confirm your answers to the questions on the medical questionnaire. It’s a simple checkup, similar to what you’d receive at a doctor’s office. Your weight, height, pulse and blood pressure will be recorded. You’ll have a small sample of blood drawn, which will be sent to a lab for further testing. 

No Medical Exam Life Insurance Options

While traditional life insurance will require a medical exam, there are a few different types of no medical exam life insurance:

  • Simplified Issue Life Insurance: Simplified issue life insurance is a type of final expense insurance in which your coverage is based on a questionnaire about your health and lifestyle rather than based on a medical exam. 
  • Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: Another form of final expense insurance, guaranteed issue whole life insurance is just as the name implies; guaranteed. If you’re between the ages of 45-85 you can’t be turned down, therefore it’s often a promising life insurance choice for seniors or individuals with health concerns as oftentimes, no medical exam is required.
  • Accelerated Underwriting: Accelerated underwriting gives you the opportunity to purchase traditional life insurance on the fast track. It doesn’t require a medical exam, however, you’ll still have to provide both current and historical health-related information.

Looking for life insurance? Let SelectQuote help you find the right policy today.

Life insurance provides peace of mind that your family and loved ones are supported financially if anything were to happen to you. Whether you have more questions about the life insurance medical exam or are ready to see what your options for coverage are, we can help you find the right insurance policy for you in just minutes.

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